June 14, 2023

Ruth’s House Resident Harriet “Holly” Schroeder Attends 70th Smith College Reunion!

Holly and Alex

Holly Schroeder, Smith College class of 1953, recently attended her 70th college reunion. Along with 14 other classmates, the class celebrated the festivities in style. The weekend’s highpoint was the alumnae parade, where all the graduates were dressed in white and carried special signs with meaningful phrases. It was truly a special day. After all, how many people attend their 70th college reunion?

A government major, Holly was always interested in helping refugees and immigrants. During her junior year, she volunteered in France, digging ditches at the Collège Cévenol to help build the school in the aftermath of WWII. After graduation, Holly embarked upon an impressive career. She worked closely with refugees and immigrants and was employed by the renowned Church World Service for several years.

Holly met her husband Peter on a layover stop for a transatlantic flight from Amsterdam to New York City. He overheard her speaking fluent Dutch and, according to Holly’s daughter Alexandra Risley Schroeder, knew immediately that she was “someone he wanted take out for coffee.” The rest, as they say, is history and the couple married in 1962 after a brief courtship. Holly and Peter had two daughters – Alex and her sister, Susanna.

Following in her mom’s footsteps, Alex attended Smith College, graduating in 1986. While she has attended other Smith College reunions with her mom, including Holly’s 65th at which Holly and Alex were joined by Holly’s granddaughter, Avery, Alex noted that this year felt different. “In the Ivy Day Parade, the oldest alums march through a path of increasingly younger alumnae – there were so many cheers and high fives for mom and her classmates!”

A young 91 years of age, Holly is now a resident at Ruth’s House Assisted Living, where she is adored by staff and residents alike. “We have really enjoyed having Holly as a resident at Ruth’s House Assisted Living.” said Christina Tuohey, Executive Director at the assisted living. “She is always teaching us about different plants in our garden and telling us about all her adventures, which are considerable! She is friendly, outgoing, and very personable. In fact, we love watching her foster new friendships with other residents and staff.”

The reunion proved to be everything Holly and Alex expected —and more. Holly summed up the weekend perfectly. “That was such fun, but how can it be my 70th reunion?”